Generational Dynamics: Modern Generational Theory Generational
 Modern Generational Theory


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 3-Nov-2019
3-Nov-19 World View -- Anti-Iran, anti-government protests spread across Iraq

Web Log - November, 2019

3-Nov-19 World View -- Anti-Iran, anti-government protests spread across Iraq

Confessional governments in Lebanon and Iraq

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Anti-Iran, anti-government protests spread across Iraq

 Anti-government protesters stand on a building in Baghdad last week (CNN)
Anti-government protesters stand on a building in Baghdad last week (CNN)

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the capital city Baghdad and cities across Iraq on Saturday to continue anti-government and anti-Iran protests that began in early October.

In the Umm Qasr port, which is in southern Iraq, south of the city of Basra, hundreds of people were wounded in clashes between security forces and protesters, as protesters set up blockades and burned tires to shut down the port. Operations at the port, which receives the vast bulk of Iraq's imports of grain, vegetable oils and sugar, have been at a complete standstill since Wednesday.

The protests are similar to those that I described last week in Lebanon. ( "21-Oct-19 World View -- Massive anti-government street protests paralyze Lebanon") Like Lebanon, Iraq is in a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s, following the Iran/Iraq war (1980-88), which was a Persian-Arab war. Today's protests are not sectarian (anti-Sunni vs anti-Shia) but are anti-government, and particularly against massive government corruption.

History of the Iran/Iraq war

Most generational crisis wars in the Mideast occurred in the context of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman empire.

Iraq's generational crisis war was the 1920 Great Iraqi Revolution, which was a watershed event in Iraqi history. It was not a sectarian (Sunni vs Shia) war. Instead, the entire country Sunnis, Shias, tribes and cities were united in fighting the British colonists.

Sixty years later, in 1980, Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iraq. This followed Iran's revolution in 1979, and Saddam thought Iran would be weakened for an easy conquest. Instead, Saddam's invasion united the Iranians.

The Iran/Iraq war was one of the longest and bloodiest wars of the 20th century. Chemical weapons and large-scale missile attacks were used. There were millions of casualties and refugees in both countries. This war had a profound influence on the entire Mideast.

Since then Iran has attempted to gain political influence in Iraq. The biggest opportunity came in the last three years, when ISIS was occupying much of Iraq, and Iraq's army was failing to eject them. Iran trained and funded Shia militias called the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), which played a major role in expelling ISIS from the country. This gave Iran a great deal of influence in the country.

Confessional governments in Lebanon and Iraq

There were generational crisis wars throughout the region in the 1970s and 1980s. The Iran-Iraq war pitted Arabs against Persians. Lebanon's civil war was related to Syria's civil war, which pitted Arabs against Shia/Alawites who, in turn, were aligned with Iran. Iran has enormous political influence in Lebanon through its puppet militia Hezbollah, which is the military arm of the Shias in Lebanon.

Iran and Syria came out of their respective civil wars with extremely bloody repression of their enemies. In Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1988 ordered the torture, rape and massacre of tens of thousands of political prisoners and political enemies. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is still conducting genocide and ethnic cleansing of his political enemies, the Arab Sunnis.

In my recent article on Lebanon, I described how Lebanon's constitution was written to split control of government institutions (prime minister, president, parliament) into three sects, Sunni Muslim, Maronite Christian, and Shia Muslim, respectively. The purpose of this form of government was to prevent the kind of violence that has occurred in Iran and Syria.

It turns out that this is called a "confessional system of government," where power is divided based on sectarian affiliation or confession. So after the dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted by the Americans in 2003, Iraq adopted a confessional form of government for the same reason.

The confessional form of government has worked fairly well in both Iraq and Lebanon, because it's prevented the kind of massive violence that's been occurring in Iran and Syria.

However, rioters in both Iraq and Lebanon are protesting against their governments for the same two reasons: First, corruption, the sectarian-based divisions give the sects too much financial power over their respective institutions, and allow them to steal as much money as they like. And second, Iran has too much influence, and the country is serving Iran's needs instead of its own.

Both countries are in extreme poverty, and protesters are giving both of those reasons as the cause.

Iran's dream for several years has been full control of the "Shia crescent" -- Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, including an open highway from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.

This is all falling apart now, with anti-Iran protests in Iraq and Lebanon, and loss of influence in Syria.

Global protests -- around the world

Winston Churchill's history of World War II describes the obvious "Gathering Storm" that preceded the war, making it apparent that war was coming.

Today we see a similar Gathering Storm -- regional wars, trade wars, surging xenophobia and nationalism in almost every nation, and in recent months a surge in street protests. Just today, Pakistan had to be added to the list of countries experiencing major anti-government street protests.

The street protests in Chile have been going on for months, and have forced Chile to cancel plans to hold two international conferences. One was an economic conference where Donald Trump and Xi Jinping were supposed to attend and sign a trade deal, and the other was a climate change conference.

As part of its coverage of the Chile street protests, the BBC did an interesting story on the spread of global protests.

Countries experiencing major anti-government street protests.  Top row (L-R): Barcelona/ClimateChange/Russia; Middle row: Bolivia/HongKong/Iraq; Bottom row: Ecuador/Chile/Lebanon (BBC)
Countries experiencing major anti-government street protests. Top row (L-R): Barcelona/ClimateChange/Russia; Middle row: Bolivia/HongKong/Iraq; Bottom row: Ecuador/Chile/Lebanon (BBC)

The BBC noted that the number of countries with large protests has grown dramatically in the last few months.

The BBC report provided a one or two sentence summary for each country. Here they are (my transcription):

All of the protests are based on worsening economies, and that's happening because the growing debt bubble days have largely ended, and so there is much less money in the world than there used to be, meaning that there are many more people who cannot get money to buy food with.

The world is being held together with duct tape and rubber bands, and at some point a rubber band will snap, and that will lead to the first declaration of war, and an escalating cycle of wars.

John Xenakis is author of: "World View: Iran's Struggle for Supremacy -- Tehran's Obsession to Redraw the Map of the Middle East" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 1), September 2018, Paperback: 153 pages, over 100 source references, $7.00,


Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Nov-2019) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2020
Web Log Summary - 2019
Web Log Summary - 2018
Web Log Summary - 2017
Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2020
Web Log - November, 2020
Web Log - October, 2020
Web Log - September, 2020
Web Log - August, 2020
Web Log - July, 2020
Web Log - June, 2020
Web Log - May, 2020
Web Log - April, 2020
Web Log - March, 2020
Web Log - February, 2020
Web Log - January, 2020
Web Log - December, 2019
Web Log - November, 2019
Web Log - October, 2019
Web Log - September, 2019
Web Log - August, 2019
Web Log - July, 2019
Web Log - June, 2019
Web Log - May, 2019
Web Log - April, 2019
Web Log - March, 2019
Web Log - February, 2019
Web Log - January, 2019
Web Log - December, 2018
Web Log - November, 2018
Web Log - October, 2018
Web Log - September, 2018
Web Log - August, 2018
Web Log - July, 2018
Web Log - June, 2018
Web Log - May, 2018
Web Log - April, 2018
Web Log - March, 2018
Web Log - February, 2018
Web Log - January, 2018
Web Log - December, 2017
Web Log - November, 2017
Web Log - October, 2017
Web Log - September, 2017
Web Log - August, 2017
Web Log - July, 2017
Web Log - June, 2017
Web Log - May, 2017
Web Log - April, 2017
Web Log - March, 2017
Web Log - February, 2017
Web Log - January, 2017
Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2020 by John J. Xenakis.